The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players bet against each other to make the best possible hand. It is played in many variants throughout the world.

Rules vary by region but all have a common premise: players are dealt a hand of cards and must choose whether to call (match) the bet, raise the bet, or fold. The winning hand takes all the chips in the pot.

Before the deal, all players must ante up or place a forced bet called an “ante.” An ante may be small (like $1 or $5) or large (like $200 or more). The dealer deals cards to each player.

Each player is then given two cards that he must keep hidden from the other players. A betting round begins with each player to the left making a bet, and he must either call or raise that bet.

A player can also “check” a bet, meaning that he does not want to play the current round and will wait until it’s over. If another player raises, however, every other player must call or fold, or bet more money into the pot.

Most poker games are played with a standard deck of cards, four of each color and four suits (hearts, spades, clubs, diamonds). Typically, players use poker chips, which stand in for cash and represent different dollar amounts. Stacking and counting chips are easier than carrying around piles of cash, so players tend to prefer them.